WASHINGTON - The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose to the highest level in five weeks but still remained close to the recent 43-year lows.
The Labor Department says that applications for jobless benefits rose by 13,000 last week to 260,000, the highest level since an identical 260,000 claim applications were filed the week of Sept. 10.
Since that time, claims had fallen to the lowest levels since November 1973. Even with last week’s gain, claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, remain at levels indicating that workers are enjoying job security despite sluggish economic growth.
Initial jobless claims have now been below 300,000 for 85 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1970.
The four-week average for claims, a less volatile measure, rose by 2,250 to 251,750 last week.
Overall, 2.06 million Americans are collecting unemployment checks, down 6 percent from a year ago.